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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

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Drug Abuse and Dependence - Treatment


You may take medicines to help you quit or to help you overcome withdrawal symptoms. Medicines often are used for addiction to opiate drugs like heroin or certain painkillers. Medicines that can help you include methadone (such as Dolophine) or Naltrexone (such as ReVia).

Treatment programs

Treatment programs can be outpatient, inpatient, or residential. They offer similar therapies. Your treatment team can help you decide which type of program is best for you.

  • In outpatient treatment, you regularly go to a mental health clinic, a counselor's office, a hospital clinic, or a local health department for treatment.
  • In inpatient treatment, you stay at a hospital and have therapies during the day or evening. You most likely will then go to outpatient therapy.
  • Residential treatment provides a place for you to live for 6 months or more while you recover. You get therapy and 24-hour care.

Some treatment programs give rewards, called vouchers, when you stay off drugs. The rewards may get bigger when you go for a long time without drugs.

Many programs give regular drug tests while you go through treatment. Knowing that you will be tested can make you more likely to resist your cravings.

What to think about

People with drug problems often have other problems. They may need other treatments, or other resources may be available to help them with the drug problem.

  • If you have a drug problem and a mental health problem, you will need treatment for both problems. Doctors call this a dual diagnosis.
  • Older adults also may have drug problems because of misuse of prescription medicines such as painkillers or sleeping pills.
  • Drug abuse in the military is like drug abuse in the general population. But there may be other concerns, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or military sexual trauma.
  • Some people are sent to drug treatment because of a court decision. This may happen if you have a drug problem and you commit a crime. A court may require treatment and then keep track of your progress. Treatment often is available in prison.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 2/, 014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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